Monday, March 1, 2010

'So That' Study

I hope you have enjoyed these studies so far. I have enjoyed putting them together. This weekend we started our new series entitled 'So That.' During this series we will look at the vision of Forest Hill Church to reach and transform people into servants of Christ. David is using this series to present our plan for expanding our church through capital contributions.

I sat down with David a couple of weeks ago and asked him to explain the campaign and pitched him a few of the most frequently asked questions concerning this campaign. Click the logo below to access the video of our conversation and the corresponding LifeGroup discussion guide. My hope is that every LifeGroup take one week out of the next five to stop what they normally do, watch the video and have a discussion about it. Check out the video and discussion guide and post your comments here. RTB study guides will return after the 'So That' campaign concludes on April 17-18.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Week 8: Isaiah 4-9

Love Authority

At the beginning of his sermon, David tells a story of Dean Smith, his college basketball coach. David professes that Coach Smith's players would do whatever he asked, obeying his requests due to their respect for him. Who have you held such a respect for that you would follow their requests, respecting their authority over you?

To whose authority have you had a difficult time submitting?

God ordered authority. the necessity of authority serves as proof of our sinful nature.

Authority structures exist in the home (Ephesians 5:19-33). Husbands how are you demonstrating submission to Christ? Wives, how are you demonstrating submission to your husbands? Children, how are you demonstrating submission to you parents?

Many of us don't think of submitting to the church. Truth be told, when we encounter something in the church we do not like, we become like dissatisfied customers and either complain to management or take our business elsewhere. This is not a biblical picture of the church. What does it look like to submit to spiritual authority at the church?

Where does submitting to church authority become difficult?

How do you feel about our current government? (respect, apathy, ambivalence, hostility, etc)?

Read Romans 13:1-2. What does this do to your view of our government?

Read Isaiah 9:6-7. The promise foreshadows Jesus, the one upon whose shoulders all government rests. What does it feel like to know he will rule for all eternity?

Big Idea: God ordered authority. Our feelings for God should direct our submission to his authority structures.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Week 7: 2 Kings 24-Isaiah 3

The place of forgiveness in Love.

This study will address the content of the sermon presented by Jonathan Scott on 2/14/10. For context to the sermon and the primary passage in Isaiah 1, be sure to read the closing of the book of 2 Kings, chapter 22 through the end. Also, read the commentary in this week's edition of 'the Post.'

The theme of this week's study is forgiveness and its place in love. Think of a time when you were wronged by someone you considered to be close. It could be a serious wrong or simply a harsh word. Share that example with your group.

What impact did it make for you to forgive that person?

For many of us, it is far simpler to think of a time we have been wronged than a time we have wronged someone else. Describe a time when you have hurt someone else and have been in need of their forgiveness.

What impact did it make for you to be forgiven by the one you offended?

Contrast the experience of extending forgiveness to someone else with being the recipient of forgiveness.

Holding fast in mind your personal examples of forgiveness, recall the list of offenses of God's people in 2 Kings and the punishment this rebellion incurred. Talk about them with your group. Why were these things so offensive to God?

Now read Isaiah 1: 16-20 aloud with your group. What does God seem to be looking for in order to extend forgiveness to his people?

Where are examples in your life of people who need to be forgiven? Think of the difficult examples.

Having read the passage from Isaiah 1, now read Ephesians 4:32 and make a plan for forgiving the offending party identified in the previous question. Talk about your plan with your group.

Big Idea: concepts of justice appear in many places. It seems the availability of forgiveness is a unique characteristic of God's relationship with his people. As objects of his forgiveness, it should also be a unique characteristic of our relationship with other people.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Week 6: 2 Kings 14-23

David opened the sermon this week with the question, "What will be written on your tombstone?" If you were to die tonight, what would be written on your tombstone?

If the last question points to the reality of your legacy as of now, think of your legacy in idealistic terms. What would you like to be written on your tombstone?

The religious reforms of Josiah lasted only 3 years. In theorizing the cause of the collapse of these reforms, David states "you can't change your life by trying harder." What does he mean by that? (ref Jer 31:31-34)

The reforms of Josiah and the promise of the new Covenant in Jer 31 represent two approaches to the Law of God (10 commandments, Leviticus and Deuteronomy). How would you explain the distinctions between these two approaches?

Josiah's response to God's Law:

Jeremiah's promise of God's Law:

Jehoahaz, Josiah's son, had another response to God's Law (2 Kings 24:32). What was his reaction?

In contrasting these three responses to God's Law, does your reaction to the Law look more like that of Josiah, Jeremiah, or Jehoahaz and why?

Your approach to the Law of God (the scriptures) determines the legacy you leave. To leave the legacy you wish to leave, what must change in your response to God's law?

Big Idea: are you over the scriptures or under them?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week 4: 2 Kings 1-7

David's sermon focuses on the story of Namaan and the healing of his leprosy (2 Kings 5). He uses this story as an illustration of the dangers of 'achievement addiction.' Where do you see evidence that people in our culture struggle with the addiction of achievement?

David points to 4 symptoms that may indicate 'the achievement addiction' might be present in your life:
1. Anger
2. Critical
3. Demeaning
4. Mockers
If we are honest, all of us can see these symptoms present in our life. With your group, talk about which of the symptoms are observable in you. In what settings do they show up?

In spite of our best efforts, it is the Gospel of Grace that offers the ability to break this addiction to achievement. Read the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28 (The Message)

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Talk with your group about your reaction to this passage. It is incredibly powerful. How is grace the remedy to the achievement addiction (David addresses this link in his message)?

David mentions 3 qualities of personality that indicate and understanding of grace:
1. Thanksgiving
2. Giving
3. Worship
Which of these qualities can you see present in your own life?

Big Idea: increased experience of God's grace erodes the influence of our addiction to achievement.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Week 3: 1 Kings 15-22

A Legacy of Courage

In his sermon, David uses the life of Rosa Parks as an example of courage; defining courage as 'knowing that an action will bring an undesired outcome but continuing to move forward, down a path, because we believe fervently in a cause.' (if you missed his sermon, click here to watch it)

Elijah's life is a picture of one man confronting the status quo of a corrupt society. In addition to Ms. Parks and Elijah, what modern examples can you identify that reflect this demonstration of courage?

In considering these examples, what moves you about each of these stories?

It is impossible to recognize the evil in the kingdom of man unless you are even more connected to the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven. In what ways does our culture resemble the culture that Elijah confronted?

What areas of society stick out as the most evident areas of evil?

Elijah's courage was the fruit of his closeness with God. His awareness of God's power was more present in his mind than his awareness of the power of King Ahab. How might you cultivate closeness with God in your life?

As courage grows in you, coming from your closeness with God, how could you engage those areas of our society that stick out as evident areas of evil?

Big Idea: Spiritual courage is only realized as it is exercised in confronting evil in the world.